Dallas Heats Up: Are the Mavs Primed for Another Postseason Push?


The NBA season is like an ultra marathon – long and trying, with only the strongest fit to survive. A team’s chances of winning can come and go with trades and injuries. Some teams start strong and fade, unable to sustain the momentum gathered early on to make a deep playoff run. Others may struggle before eventually finding their identity, gelling, and building a head of steam heading into the playoffs.

One such team, the Mavericks, is playing their best ball at the right time. While Dallas may have had a rocky start to the season, with Kyrie Irving in and out of the lineup, they are currently the hottest team in the NBA and just handed the red-hot Rockets their first loss in 12 games. Led by the walking triple-double machine, Luka Doncic (34 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 9.9 ASP), and Kyrie Irving, the Mavs have catapulted into the 5th seed in the West – a feat many thought impossible merely a month ago.

Their recent impressive play has caught the oddsmakers’ attention in Vegas and beyond. Many sportsbooks now have the Mavs at +3000 to win the NBA championship. Those keen on making a wager on Dallas or any other team, should shop around for the best  and leverage all the data they can to make an informed decision. They should avoid the Play-In tournament, too, as Dallas has the 8th easiest remaining strength of schedule. Even better, the teams chasing them – Phoenix and Sacramento – have to face some of the toughest opponents in the Association, facing the 1st and 4th best teams, respectively, to close out the regular season.

Unfinished Business: Mavs Aim to Cement Legacy With Deep Playoff Run

Dallas has a lot to prove for a team that many saw as an outlier for the looming playoffs. After finishing last season 7-18, the Mavs missed the playoffs entirely for the first time since 2019. The collapse, many argued, was calculated and sparked controversy throughout the league. Love it or hate it, the tanking allowed Dallas to keep their top-10 protected draft pick, which they would use to select big man Dereck Lively II. The former Blue Devil has had a modest yet productive rookie year, averaging 8.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Many pundits criticized Mark Cuban and the Mavs for supposedly mortgaging the team’s future as they traded and swapped rights to future first-round picks to acquire P.J. Washington (10.5 PPG, 6 RPG) and Daniel Gafford (11.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG). Irving is looking more like the player from his days in Cleveland. Seamlessly morphing into Uncle Drew, he slices through the defense, proving he still has the best handles in the league. He can get to the rim, creating separation for an easy jumper, or dish the rock with a no-look dime to an open teammate as the defense collapses around him.

The League Takes Notice as Dallas Builds Momentum 

In their Easter Sunday game against Houston, Doncic recorded 47 points, 12 boards, and 7 assists, including 32 points in the first half while shooting 6 of 10 from deep. Rockets players and fans were left shaking their heads in disbelief as the ‘Luka Magic’ was on full display when the Slovenian knocked down arguably the most ridiculous shot of the season. With the shot clock winding down, he tossed up an underhand leaning runner just inside the 3-point arc, a shot most people wouldn’t even try while playing HORSE in their backyard.

Coach Jason Kidd acknowledged the spectacular shot but assured everyone it was just par for the course with the young superstar. “To see him do that, I feel a lot of people got excited, but I think at the same time, that’s Luka,” Kidd said. “He’s always able to make tough shots. He’s Picasso. Give him the paintbrush, he’s going to do something special. That shot was pretty special.”

From Underdogs to Contenders

It’s not been a walk in the park, though. Sometimes, Doncic can let his emotions get the best of him and look more like Draymond Green than the next Larry Bird. He leads the league with 14 technical fouls this season. The MVP candidate must keep his cool as he is just too valuable to his team to miss any time due to ejections or suspensions. Then there’s his subpar 78.2 free-throw shooting clip, which ranks 79th in the NBA. As games become more intense and pressure builds, will Luka be able to step up to the charity stripe and knock down clutch free throws when the game is on the line?

Discounting Dallas for the playoffs looked like a safe bet after last year’s collapse. Now, fueled by a scorching hot streak and a dynamic Doncic-Irving duo, the Mavericks have transformed from afterthoughts to legitimate contenders. With a favorable schedule and a chip on their shoulder, the question remains: can they overcome past doubters and make a deep playoff run, cementing their legacy in the process?

Leave a comment